Apr 152014
 

When I was in Encinitas for some errands a few weeks ago, I decided to check out a highly-rated bakery nearby, VG Donut & Bakery.

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At first, I thought that the name stood for something like “Vegan/Gluten-Free”, but it turns out that it’s actually for “Very Good”, haha.

The place was quite busy, but the line moved pretty quickly.

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Bread

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Pastries

Cookies

Cookies

They had all the classic cookie flavors, and in gluten-free variety too.

Continue reading »

Apr 112014
 

Matcha Love is a Japanese café that opened up in the Mitsuwa grocery store. I first saw the signs for the store about a week before the grand opening, which took place on March 28. Well, I couldn’t pass up anything matcha, so on the second day, I gathered up a few friends to check it out.

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Erm, sorry for that ginormous glare spot… Here’s a better photo of the menu prices:

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The offerings here are quite simple: ice cream, hot tea, hot latte, shakes, and boba tea.

Matcha Shake [$3] and Matcha Ice Cream [$3]

Matcha Shake [$2.80] and Matcha Ice Cream [$3]

The Matcha Shake was actually not a milkshake, like we all thought it would be. Continue reading »

Apr 092014
 

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a food truck lunch… As I’ve mentioned in some of the previous reviews, there was a good variety of food trucks that stop by near my workplace. Lately, though, I’ve noticed that some of my old favorites are either gone or have gone down in food quality. Sad. But when Devilicious started coming around my workplace, I was really excited because I love grilled cheese sandwiches, and I had heard good reviews of the food here. 

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The truck itself is pretty adorable (there were too many people around and I didn’t want to take a picture), thanks to the devil logo:

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For my first visit, my labmate and I split two sandwiches (cell phone pics here):

Butter-Poached Lobster Grilled Cheese [$12]: butter-poached lobster tail meat, melted jack & cheddar cheeses, caramelized onion, roma tomatoes on sourdough bread

Butter-Poached Lobster Grilled Cheese [$12]: butter-poached lobster tail meat, melted jack & cheddar cheeses, caramelized onion, roma tomatoes on sourdough bread

Duck Confit Grilled Cheese [$10]: shredded duck confit, caramelized red onions, gruyere & mozzarella cheeses, honey port reduction on sourdough bread

Duck Confit Grilled Cheese [$10]: shredded duck confit, caramelized red onions, gruyere & mozzarella cheeses, honey port reduction on sourdough bread

The bread was grilled to a perfect crisp and quite buttery. Continue reading »

Apr 042014
 

Amardeen is a Lebanese restaurant in the Towne Center plaza in UTC. Honestly, even after living in UTC for so long, I only had a vague idea that this little plaza existed… haha. My friend I.F. is a big fan of the place and has been asking S and I to try it, and on a recently Sunday, we went to check it out for lunch.

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The place was pretty deserted for Sunday lunch, but I.F. says that some days it can get crowded. 

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The interior was quite bright and clean, and I really enjoyed the simple but cute decor.

The menu was quite extensive (available online) and we had a hard time deciding what to order. S and I were both quite surprised at how pricey some of the entrées were.

Lamb Kebab [$20]: two skewers of marinated cubes of lamb, served with basmati rice, hummus, tomatoes, green pepper, and onions

Lamb Kebab [$20]: two skewers of marinated cubes of lamb, served with basmati rice, hummus, tomatoes, green pepper, and onions

After debating for a long time, S chose the lamb kebab plate. I thought the lamb tasted a little too gamey for my liking, and the meat wasn’t really flavorful. In contrast, I liked the grilled pepper and onions much more than the meat itself. The hummus was quite tasty, too – I guess I liked everything on the plate besides the lamb itself, haha.

I must admit that even though it’s pricey, the portion size was quite generous – in addition to all that’s pictured above, he also had a choice of French fries, salad, or soup. Guess which one he picked?

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French Fries

The French fries were served in a really cute cone Continue reading »

Mar 312014
 

‘Lette Macarons is a popular macaron chain shop based in Los Angeles. Recently, they opened a stand at the UTC Westfield Mall. I have been really happy with the changes that have taken place in UTC throughout the past couple of years – new shops such as Free People and the Sony store, and even a Tesla showroom, restaurants like Craft Pizza Company and Tender Greens, and dessert shops, including Bottega Italiana and now, ‘Lette.

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I’ve had ‘Lette macarons once, when a friend brought them back from LA. My initial impression was that they were quite sweet, but I only had a couple of flavors wanted to try some more.

I felt really shy about taking photos of the stand, but they had some really adorable macaron display stands. You can see more photos of them on Kirbie’s Cravings.

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An individual macaron is $1.95, and a box of six is $11.

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Salted Caramel; Coffee; Lemon; Earl Grey; Sweet Almond Wedding; Pistachio

Sadly, as you can see, the Sweet Almond Wedding macaron cracked a bit in the box… sob. Continue reading »

Mar 302014
 

The SDSU “College Area” Neighborhood is a part of San Diego that I don’t frequent, since it’s pretty far from where I live. But I am always interested in exploring the food and flair of new neighborhoods. Now, there’s a chance to check out the dining scene through the College Area Taste event! The event is a self-guided tour through the neighborhood, where you can sample various offerings from the participating restaurants (see list on attached flyer). It will be held Sunday, April 13 from 11AM-3PM.

The tickets are $25 per person in advance, or $30 at the door – click here for ticket ordering information. Or, keep reading for a chance to win a pair of tickets!

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Courtesy of McFarlane Promotions, I will be giving away a pair of tickets to the event for one lucky reader! The giveaway will run until Wednesday, April 9 at 5:59PM. I will draw a winner using random.org and notify them via email, and they must respond within 24 hours with their name and the name of their guest. (If they do not respond within 24 hours, I will draw a new winner.) Good luck!

You can have up to four entries:

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me which restaurant you’d like to sample the most.
  2. Like this post on Facebook and leave a separate comment on this post telling me that you’ve done so, and include your Facebook name if it’s different from your comment name. Make sure you are leaving a comment here and not on the FB post, and please don’t comment without liking the post because I will check.
  3. Tweet the following message: “Enter for a chance to win 2 tickets to College Area Taste via @jinxieats! http://wp.me/p2G77a-1rh” and leave a separate comment on this post telling me that you’ve done so, and include your Twitter handle. Please don’t comment without sending the tweet because I will check.
  4. Follow my Pinterest page and leave a separate comment on this post telling me that you’ve done so, and include your Pinterest username. Please don’t comment without following because I will check.
Mar 282014
 

Craft Pizza Company is a fast-casual pizza place that recently opened in UTC Westfield Mall, and Eater San Diego made a really big deal out of it so I had to check it out. S isn’t a huge fan of pizza, but I got my friend J to accompany me for a lunch time excursion one day.

(It turns out that J had already tried Craft Pizza when it first opened, so he gave me some good tips for what to try. Yay!)

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Pizzas on display

Look at that one sad piece of pepperoni pizza left. Well, someone ordered it shortly after I took this picture, and they replaced the pepperoni with another type of pizza – I took a photo of the display case from another angle:

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You order by the slice what you want ($3.49 for cheese, $3.69 for any slice with toppings), and they will fire it up in the oven to heat it up.

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Carnitas: all-natural mozzarella, roasted pork, organic tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, poblano chiles

Carnitas: all-natural mozzarella, roasted pork, organic tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, poblano chiles

I chose two slices, Carnitas and Truffle. Continue reading »

Mar 262014
 

Bao’s Awesome Burgers & Sandwiches, or BABS for short, is one of my favorite “hidden gems” in San Diego. S and I really enjoy their burgers, which are a little different from a standard burger as you’ll see later in this post. It had been a while since our last visit, and when I read about Kirbie’s recent visit on her blog, I had such a craving that S and I went there for dinner that day.

The place had undergone some renovations since my last visit. The place used to be quite dim, without much decor on the walls. The tables and chairs also used to be a little bit worn. This time, however, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the walls had been re-painted, the place was brightly lit, and there were new tables and chairs. Everything felt much brighter and more welcoming, and there seemed to be more customers there than our previous visits, too!

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I thought this plastic burger was really cute and had to take a photo, haha.

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The menu still looks largely the same. S had their Original Burger – he doesn’t like too many fancy things on his burgers.

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Original Burger [$4.99]

Remember what I said about the burger here being special? Well, as you can see, the patty is really thick – and that’s because it’s stuffed with melted cheddar cheese on the inside!

Patty stuffed with melted cheese

Patty stuffed with melted cheese

Continue reading »

Mar 162014
 

I had meant to put this post up before Burger Week ended, but didn’t have the time =( Fortunately, Burger Lounge’s special was a regular menu item. Instead, they were simply offering their “Little Lounge Burger” with bacon for $5 (normally $5.95 for the burger, plus $1.95 for bacon).

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Since my first visit to Burger Lounge, the restaurant has really expanded, now with 8 locations throughout San Diego county and several more in Los Angeles. While S and I weren’t particularly impressed with the place when we first tried it, it’s so popular that we decided to try it out again. Since one of our initial complaints had been that their pricing is a bit high for the portions, we thought the Burger Week special was a perfect chance to check it out.

As I mentioned above, the Burger Week special is a Little Lounge Burger with bacon. From their website, it seems that bacon is a recent addition to the menu, and of course, in line with their grass-fed organic philosophy, it’s nitrate/nitrite-free bacon… which would explain why it’d normally cost almost two dollars just to add bacon to your burger.

Little Lounge Burger with Bacon

Little Lounge Burger with Bacon

The burger features a 1/4-pound beef patty, served “Lounge-Style” meaning: butter-toasted bun, organic cheese (white or American), onions (fresh or grilled), lettuce, tomato, and house-made 1000 Island dressing.

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Continue reading »

Mar 142014
 

I learned from the blog Oh-So Yummy that this week (March 7-16) is San Diego Burger Week, where various restaurants are offering $5 burger specials! The list of participating restaurants is actually pretty long, and S and I had a hard time deciding whether we wanted to try something or revisit some old favorites. One place that I definitely wanted to hit was Carnitas’ Snack Shack – we’ve only been to this San Diego favorite once, but I had a really great impression of the food and have been wanting to return. FINALLY, two years since my first post, we made a revisit!

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The shack is still a shack, with the pork statue on top of the little ordering window. To avoid the crowd, we opted for a late dinner, arriving around 10PM. There was still a small line at that time!

Menu of the day (not sure if it changes daily or seasonally):

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The Burger Week special isn’t listed on the menu – you have to ask for it at the window.

Shack Pork Burger: house ground pork burger, candied bacon, gorgonzola, pretzel bun [$5]

Shack Pork Burger: house ground pork burger, candied bacon, gorgonzola, pretzel bun [$5]

S and I each ordered one, because I guess we weren’t feeling like sharing that day, haha.

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I’ve had burgers with pork patties, but this has been the best by far – it was really juicy and “porky,” instead of just imitating a beef burger. One thing I really enjoyed was how well the flavors played together – the candied bacon and gorgonzola cheese paired quite well, but neither (in my opinion) overpowered the patty too much. (S, who doesn’t like any strong cheeses, did not appreciate the gorgonzola. Haha. But he still enjoyed the burger!)

Pork Belly App: braised Duroc pork, sweet-spicy glaze, frisée salad: apples, radishes, lemon vinaigrette [$8]

Pork Belly App: braised Duroc pork, sweet-spicy glaze, frisée salad [$8]

Continue reading »

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